Woof, here's a purrfect event for pets

The table was laden with a sumptuous spread of pork and beef cream cheese cupcakes, salmon quiche, shepherd's pies, whoopie waffles, cookie jars and other tasty treats.

As tempting as the buffet might seem, it was not meant for humans, but was instead a feast for dogs at the inaugural Pet Expo which opened yesterday.

Besides dogs, there were cats, brought to the event by the Cat Welfare Society, rabbits, brought there by the House Rabbit Society of Singapore, and hamsters.

The Pet Expo, touted as Singapore's largest pet fair and organised by the International Exhibitions Group (IEG), spans more than 4,000 sq m and has 38 companies showcasing a gamut of pet products and services.

Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee, who opened the three-day event at the Singapore Expo yesterday, said: "This is a wonderful opportunity to bring pet lovers together and raise greater awareness among members of the public about animal welfare."

The opening ceremony featured Sheppi, a border collie, unveiling a curtain to launch the event and picking up a scroll of the opening message to be passed to Mr Lee.

Sheppi was under the direction of six-year-old student Valerie Wong, who was also there to take part in the Dog Obedience Challenge with her pet poodle, Pepper. She learnt to train dogs from her father, Mr Patrick Wong, 50, a professional dog trainer with Waggie's Pet Care.

Teacher Sisi Soh, 30, was at the event with her cocker spaniel, Lucy, and her friend's golden retriever, Twinkle, which she was pet-sitting.

DOG EVENT

Housewife Aisan Tay, 37, whose Italian greyhound, Emma, was wearing a pink summer dress, said: "I'm here to let my dog socialise with other dogs. I think it's a good show because it attracts more people to learn about dogs."

The expo also features pet adoption parades, pet food donation drives and charity fund-raising.

With Singapore's pet population expected to grow to 824,300 in 2016, event organisers hope this will not lead to a corresponding rise in cases of pet abandonment and abuse.

IEG executive director Jason Ng, 42, said: "We organised this event because we hope it can be a meeting place for pet owners, a marketplace for pet-related goods and, most importantly, an educational ground for responsible pet ownership and welfare."

Celebrity pets Amber, a golden retriever and Bobo, Singapore's first skateboarding bulldog, will appear at the Pet Expo today.

ahwarng@sph.com.sg

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